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Activities by year: 2009

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Request for opinion - Serbia

16/12/2009
Serbian authorities asked the Venice Commission to give an opinion on the law on referendums.

OSCE/ODIHR- Guidelines for review of legislation pertaining to religion or belief

12/12/2009 - 13/12/2009
Milan - The Venice Commission participates in the first meeting of the OSCE/ODIHR working group on the revision of the Guidelines for review of legislation pertaining to religion or belief

World Conference on Constitutional Justice

12/12/2009
Venice - The 2nd Meeting of the Bureau of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice discussed the preparation of its 2nd Congress (Rio de Janeiro 16-18.1.2011)

81st Plenary Session of the Commission (Venice)

11/12/2009 - 12/12/2009
At its 81st plenary session, the Commission adopted opinions on the following issues:

• Armenia – revised draft law amending the Civil code concerning the rules on compensation of victims of defamation by the press;
• Azerbaijan – draft Laws on the Status of municipalities and on obtaining information on activities of the courts of Azerbaijan;
• Bulgaria - draft Law on Normative Acts;
• Georgia – revised draft amendments to the law on occupied territories;
• Kazakhstan - interpretation of the Kazakh Constitution concerning the participation in the Customs U... read more

“Enhancing participation in elections” - 6th European Conference of European Electoral Management Bodies

30/11/2009 - 01/12/2009
The Hague, the Netherlands – the Venice Commission in co-operation with the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and the Electoral Council of the Netherlands organise the 6th European Conference of Electoral Management Bodies on “Enhancing participation in elections”

UniDem Campus - Protection of the Fundamental Rights of irregulars migrants

23/11/2009 - 26/11/2009
Trieste, Italy - The third seminar in 2009 training for civil servants of sixteen participating states on "The protection of the Fundamental Rights of irregulars migrants".

The UniDem Campus, a programme for legal training of the civil servants of Eastern European countries was launched in 2000 by the Venice Commission with the financial support of the Region Friuli-Venezia Giulia government. Since it has been a great success: nearly 3000 civil servants have been trained.

This activity is intended for officials from national administrations of 16 Eastern European count... read more

Hungary - 20th anniversary of the Constitutional Court

23/11/2009 - 24/11/2009
Budapest - In co-operation with the Constitutional Court of Hungary, the Commission oganises a Conference on "Politics and law in constitutional justice - from the political questions' doctrine to judicial politics" on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Court.

Russia - Constitutional Justice - conference on "Property, free enterprise and constitution - new and old questions"

20/11/2009 - 21/11/2009
St. Petersburg - In co-operation with the Institute for Public Law and Policy and under the aegis of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, a Conference on "Property, free enterprise and constitution - new and old questions".

Mexico - 2nd international seminar of the Judicial Electoral Observatory

17/11/2009 - 18/11/2009
Mexico City - The Venice Commission takes part in the 2nd international seminar of the Judicial Electoral Observatory, which addresses issues such as limitations of freedom of expression, electoral quotas and deprivation of the right to vote. This conference is an opportunity to disseminate the principles of the European electoral heritage, as defined in the Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters drafted by the Venice Commission.

Visit to Kosovo - opinion on "Mechanisms to review the compatibility with human rights standards of acts by UNMIK and EULEX in Kosovo"

16/11/2009 - 17/11/2009
Pristine - In the context of the preparation of the opinion on "Mechanisms to review the compatibility with human rights standards of acts by UNMIK and EULEX in Kosovo", a delegation of the Venice Commission will meet representatives of these organisations and of the civil society as well as the Ombudsman.

The Commission had previously recommended the setting up of the UNMIK Human Rights Advisory Panel (opinion CDL-AD (2004)033).

EU Western Balkans Ministerial Forum on Justice and Home Affairs

16/11/2009 - 17/11/2009
Brussels - Thomas Markert, the Deputy Secretary of the Venice Commission, will participate in the Forum on behalf of the Venice Commission and will intervene on the following topic “Independence of the Judiciary and the Prosecution”

Request for opinion - Bulgaria

16/11/2009
The Bulgarian authorities have asked the Venice Commission to provide an assessment of the draft "law on forfeiture in favour of the State of illegally acquired assets".

Tadjikistan - Judiciary

12/11/2009 - 13/11/2009
Dushanbe - In cooperation with the Judge's Training Center of Tadjikistan and the Open Society Foundation, the Commission organises a seminar on "International experience and standards in the field of the independence of the judiciary"

The purpose of the seminar is to allow for an exchange of experience between the experts of the Judicial Training Centre and the international experts invited by the Venice Commission who will present their national experience (Azerbaijan, Italy and Latvia) and that of the Venice Commission.

Visit to Turkey

09/11/2009 - 11/11/2009
Istanbul, Ankara - A Delegation of the Venice Commission visits Turkey in connection with the forthcoming Opinion on the recognition of the legal personality of religious communities in Turkey. The Delegation meets representatives of religious communities, including the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, and representatives of the Turkish authorities.

Georgia - seminar with the Constitutional Court

07/11/2009 - 08/11/2009
Batumi - In co-operation with the Constitutional Court of Georgia and GTZ, the Commission organises a seminar on "Judicial Precedents as a Source of Law".

Conference on "Access to the Court - The applicant in the Constitutional Jurisdiction" (Riga)

06/11/2009 - 06/11/2009

Latvia - Constitutional Justice - access to Court

06/11/2009
Riga - Conference in co-operation with the Constitutional Court of Latvia on “Access to the Court – The Applicant in Constitutional Jurisdiction (persons authorised to apply to the Constitutional Court)”. The Conference will also deal with the issue of the standing for legal persons, which is an increasingly important topic especially in the field of the protection of the environment.

Moldova - Roundtable ''Monitoring the media during elections''

05/11/2009 - 05/11/2009
Chisinau - The Venice Commssion participates in a Round table on media monitoring during elections, organised by the Council of Europe's DG-HL Media division. Ms Herdís Thorgeirsdóttir, Member of the Venice Commission and a co-author of the Commission's Guidelines on media monitoring, presents the Commission principles in this area.

Montenegro - Constitutional justice

03/11/2009
Podgorica - In co-operation with the Constitutional Court of Montenegro and OSCE, the Venice Commission organises a regional Conference on the competence of the Constitutional Court to control the conformity of laws with ratified treaties.

Seminar on "The Competence of the Constitutional Court to control the conformity of laws with ratified treaties" ( Podgorica)

03/11/2009 - 03/11/2009

Moldova - Conference on electoral issues

02/11/2009 - 03/11/2009
Chisinau - The Venice Commission participates in a conference organised by the Central Election Commission of Moldova to discuss on electoral issues and possible improvments of the legal framework as well as of the practice.

Algeria - Constitutional Justice

31/10/2009 - 01/11/2009
Algiers – The Constitutional Council of Algeria, the Union of Arab Constitutional Courts and Councils and the Venice Commission organise a Conference on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Algerian Council on the "Relations between the Constitutional Court and Parliament".

Visit to Bolivia

28/10/2009 - 31/10/2009
La Paz - a delegation of the Venice Commission visited Bolivia to meet with representatives of the Bolivian authorities and discuss the modalities of possible cooperation in the implementation of the new Constitution. This cooperation will be financed by the European Commission.

During the visit it was agreed to start cooperation in the field of constitutional justice. The authorities informed the delegation inter alia of their intention to request an opinion of the Venice Commission on the new Law on the Constitutional Court. Other laws could be subject of the Commission’s opinio... read more

Forum for the Future of Democracy

21/10/2009 - 23/10/2009
Kyiv - The Venice Commission participates in the Forum for the Future of Democracy, on "Electoral Systems: Strengthening Democracy in the 21st Century". In particular, the President of the Venice Commission takes part in the High-level Panel debate on "The Future of Elections".

“Quality of Elections – Making Democracy strong” – International Conference

20/10/2009 - 21/10/2009
President Hotel, Kyiv – In cooperation with the Agency for Legislative Initiatives, Central Electoral Commission of Ukraine, Parliamentary Committee for Public Authorities and Local Self-Governnance Development of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the Commission organises an international conference “Quality of Elections – Making Democracy strong”

Conference of European Constitutional Courts

15/10/2009 - 16/10/2009
Bucharest - The Commission participates in the preparatory meeting for the XVth Conference of European Constitutional Courts.

Luxembourg - Constitutional revision

14/10/2009
Luxembourg - A delegation of the Venice Commission meets with the Commission on Institutions and Constitutional Revision of Luxembourg in the framework of the preparation of an opinion on the draft revision of Luxembourg's Constitution.

80th Plenary Session of the Commission (Venice)

09/10/2009 - 10/10/2009
The Commission
- paid tribute to its late member Mr François Luchaire;
- held an exchange of views with Mr Rusmali, Head of the Legal Affairs Committee of the parliament of Albania, and adopted the opinion on the Law “on the cleanliness of the figure of high functionaries of the public administration and elected persons” of Albania (the law on lustration), subject to certain amendments;

- adopted the second interim opinion on the draft Law on amending the Civil Code of Armenia, and gave mandate to the rapporteurs to assess the latest version of the amendments with a v... read more

Constitutional Justice - Secretaries General

01/10/2009 - 02/10/2009
Ankara - The Venice Commission organised, in co-operation with the Constitutional Court of Turkey, the 4th Conference of Secretaries General of Constitutional Courts

Armenia - Constitutional Justice

01/10/2009 - 03/10/2009
Yerevan - XIVth International Yerevan Conference in co-operation with the Constitutional Court of Armenia and the International Association of Constitutional Law on "The interaction between constitutional courts and parliaments in guaranteeing the supremacy of the Constitution"

XIV Yerevan International Conference on "International Experience of Interaction between Constitutional Courts and Parliaments in guaranteeing the supremacy of the Constitution" (Yerevan)

30/09/2009 - 01/10/2009

Request for opinion - Ukraine - the draft Law "on the order of organising and conducting peaceful events"

30/09/2009
The Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine has requested a joint Venice Commission/ODIHR opinion on the draft Law of Ukraine "on the order of organising and conducting peaceful events".

UniDem Campus - Independence of the judiciary

28/09/2009 - 01/10/2009
Palazzo del Ferdinandeo,Trieste, Italy - One week training of civil servants of sixteen participating states on the independence of the judiciary.
The UniDem Campus, a programme for legal training of the civil servants of Eastern European countries was launched in 2000 by the Venice Commission with the financial support of the Region Friuli-Venezia Giulia government. Since it has been a great success: nearly 3000 civil servants have been trained.

This activity is intended for officials from national administrations of 16 Eastern European countries who are invited, following t... read more

Request for opinion - Slovakia - Act on the State Language

25/09/2009
The Slovakian authorities asked the Venice Commission to deliver a legal opinion on the Act on the State Language of the Slovakian Republic.

"Quality of elections: making democracy strong" - Conference in Ukraine

24/09/2009 - 25/09/2009
Lviv, Ukraine – Representatives of the Venice Commission participate in a conference on "Quality of elections : making democracy strong" organised by the Council of Europe in cooperation with the Agency for Legislative Initiatives, the Central Election Commission of Ukraine, the Committee on State Building and Local Self-Governance of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

Asia - Constitutional Justice

24/09/2009 - 26/09/2009
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia - The Venice Commission participates the 6th Conference of Asian Constitutional Court Judges organised by the Constitutional Court of Mongolia and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.

Interaction between Parliament and government in the preparation of the draft laws – Round table

23/09/2009 - 24/09/2009
Ashkhabad, Turkmenistan - Upon the invitation of the OSCE/ODHIR, the Venice Commission participates in a round table on the “Interaction between parliament and government in the preparation of the draft laws”.

Funding of political parties – round table

17/09/2009 - 19/09/2009
Athens, Greece – Upon the invitation of the OSCE/ODIHR, the Venice Commission takes part in a round table on the “Funding of Political Parties”. This activity is organised in the framework of the OSCE Chairmanship of the OSCE.

"Fight against terrorism: Challenges for the judiciary" - Round-table

17/09/2009 - 18/09/2009
Fiesole, Italy - The Venice Commission in co-operation with the PACE Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights and the European University Institute (Florence) has organised a round table on the challenges for the judiciary in the fight against terrorism.

Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy

14/09/2009 - 16/09/2009
Seoul/Namhae - The Venice Commission takes part in the Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy. In particular, it emphasis the importance of the Code of Good Practice on Referendums.

“Trial by juries” – Conference – The Central Asian Initiative of the European Commission

08/09/2009 - 09/09/2009
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan – The Venice Commission organises in cooperation with the Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation), a conference on the trials by jury. Participants - judges, prosecutors, lawyers and civil society representatives - hold a preliminary exchange of views with the international experts on the implementation of the Law on trials by juries in Kyrgyzstan adopted in July 2009.
This activity is part of the Central Asian Initiative of the European Commission being implemented by the Venice Commission.

Electoral matters - Meeting on electoral lists

04/09/2009 - 05/09/2009
Yerevan - On the sideline of the ACEEEO annual conference, the Venice Commission takes part in the Advisory Board as well as in an expert meeting of the project "Developing accurate voters' lists in transitional democracies"

ACEEEO (Association of European Election Officials) Conference and General Assembly meeting

03/09/2009 - 05/09/2009
Yerevan - The Venice Commission takes part in the ACEEEO (Association of European Election Officials) Conference and General Assembly meeting. The Conference deals in particular with judicial protection of the electoral process and international experience in applying sociology in electoral processes

Request for opinion - Georgia - on draft amendments to the law on occupied territories

28/08/2009
The parliament of Georgia has requested the opinion of the Venice Commission on the draft amendments to the law on occupied territories of Georgia, which were prepared following a previous, critical opinion by the Commission on this law.

Request for opinion - Georgia - amendments to the law on assemblies and manifestations, the law on police and the code of administrative violations

20/08/2009
The first Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia has requested the Venice Commission to assess the amendments, recently adopted and entered into force, to the law on assemblies and manifestations, the law on police and the code of administrative violations

Obituary – François Luchaire, former member of the Venice Commission, eminent French constitutionalist

07/08/2009
Paris - Former member of the Venice Commission in respect of Andorra (2000-2007), eminent French constitutionalist François Luchaire, has passed away ion 7 August 2009 in Paris at the age of 91.

Professor François Luchaire was an active member of the Commission: he was inter alia one of the authors of the Code of Good Practice on Referendums and of the Declaration on Women’s Participation in Elections. His contribution to the Commission’s work was of great clarity and relevance.

Southern African Chief Justices Forum

06/08/2009 - 09/08/2009
Kasane, Botswana - In co-operation with the Chief Justices of the Southern Chief Justices Forum (formerly Southern Chief Judges Commission), the Commission organises a Conference on two topics: (a) The enhancement of the Rule of Law, separation of powers and judicial independence and the relationship of these doctrines to socio economic development. (b) The protection of human rights in general through the court system by way of Judicial Review. It is intended that the Conference should examine how effective the use of Judicial Review of administration action is in controlling excesses in th... read more

Moldova - Legal Advice to the Parliamentary Assembly

26/07/2009 - 31/07/2009
Chisinau - At the invitation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Mr Owen Masters, Elections Experts, takes part in the Observation Mission of the Parliamentary Assembly as legal advisor during the 29 July 2009 repeat Parliamentary elections. His mandate is to advise the PACE delegation on the legal aspects of the elections.

Moldova - Constitutional Justice

22/07/2009 - 23/07/2009
Chisinau - Conference on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the Constitution of Moldova on "Fundamental Constitutional Values as a Stability Factor of the Constitutional Regime"

3 themes will be dealt with
- The Constitution – a stabilising and stimulating factor in the socio-economic process,
- the universality of constitutional law and its impact on human rights protection,
-
- the evolution of constitutional justice in the prism of the European Court of Human Rights.

Presidents and Judges from European Constitutional Courts as well as ac... read more

Request for opinion – Ukraine - draft Law on the Judicial System and the Status of Judges

20/07/2009
Kyiv, Strasbourg - the Minister of Justice of Ukraine, Ms Onishchuk, requested an opinion on the draft Law on the Judicial System and the Status of Judges of Ukraine. This opinion is prepared by the Venice Commission in co-operation with the Co-operation Department of the Directorate of Human Rights and Legal Affairs of the Council of Europe (DG-HL).

In 2007, the Commission has adopted an opinion on two previous draft judiciary laws (CDL-AD(2007)003). The new opinion is to be adopted by the Venice Commission at its plenary session in December 2009.

On 19 November, a rou... read more

Request for opinion - Moldova - draft "Law on Status of Euroregions"

17/07/2009

Expert Seminar on Electoral Management Bodies

16/07/2009 - 17/07/2009
Vienna - This Expert Seminar, organised in the framework of the Greek Chairmanship of the OSCE, focuses on the role of electoral management bodies in ensuring the conformity of electoral processes with the OSCE and the Council of Europe commitments.

Moldova - Repeat Parliamentary Elections, electoral assistance

15/07/2009 - 05/08/2009
Chisinau - At the request of the Moldovan authorities, the Council of Europe provides a Project Coordinator on media monitoring and voters lists.

Georgia - “Justiciability of Social Rights in Constitutional and ECtHR Jurisprudence” – international conference

10/07/2009 - 12/07/2009
Batumi - Conference in cooperation with the Constitutional Court of Georgia and the Directorate of Co-operation of the Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs on the “Justiciability of Social Rights in Constitutional and ECtHR Jurisprudence”.

Social rights are often ambiguous and are, contrary to civil rights, often not judicially enforceable, which poses complex challenges to courts. The conference will give insight on the rationales underlying Constitutional Courts' and the ECtHR's decisions in relation to these matters.

Georgia - Election Code Working Group

04/07/2009 - 04/07/2009
Tbilisi - The Venice Commission takes part in a meeting of the Election Code Working Group, in charge of the preparation of the revised electoral code. The Electoral Code Working Group includes representatives of political parties, with embassadors, international organisations, international and local NGOs observing the meeting, as well as with the participation of the Central Election Commission.

Request for opinion - Azerbaijan -

03/07/2009
By letter dated 3 July 2009 addressed to the Secretary of the Venice Commission, Azerbaijani authorities requested an opinion on the draft Law “About obtaining information on activities of the courts of Azerbaijan”.

Ukraine - Conference on the quality of elections

02/07/2009 - 03/07/2009
Odessa - Representatives of the Venice Commission participate in an international conference entitled "Quality of Elections: making democracy strong", organised by the Agency for Legislative Initiatives. The participants discuss issues like European election standards and their implementation in Ukraine and the next coming presidential elections in Ukraine. The conference is attended by representatives of the Verkhovna Rada, the Constitutional court, the Central Electoral Commission of Ukraine as well as by representatives of NGOs and international organisations.

UniDem Campus - Policies on the protection and social integration of immigrants

29/06/2009 - 02/07/2009
Trieste, Italy - The first in 2009 training for civil servants of sixteen participating states on "Policies on the protection and social integration of immigrants, and their implementation at the international, national and local level" at the Palazzo del Ferdinandeo, Largo Caduti di Nasirya n° 1.

Albania - Parliamentary elections - Assistance to the election observation mission of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

26/06/2009 - 29/06/2009
Albania - The Venice Commission will provide legal assistance to the parliamentary elections observation mission of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Conference on "The current situation and further prospects of judicial reforms in Uzbekistan" (Tashkent)

25/06/2009 - 26/06/2009

Constitutional Justice - French Speaking Courts

24/06/2009 - 26/06/2009
Cotonou - The Commission participates in the 5th Congress of ACCPUF on "Constitutional Courts and Crises".

Requests the opinion by PACE - human rights protection mechanisms in Kosovo

22/06/2009
The parliamentary assembly has asked the Venice Commission to assess the mechanisms to review the compatibility with human rights standards of acts of UNMIK and EULEX in Kosovo

Joint Council on Constitutional Justice

18/06/2009 - 19/06/2009
Tallin – Upon invitation by the Supreme Court of Estonia, the Joint Council on Constitutional Justice of the Venice Commission holds its 8th meeting in Tallin.

A main topic of the meeting will be the draft Statute of the new World Conference on Constitutional Justice of which the Joint Council is to become a founding member. Other topics will be the co-operation with the various regional and linguistic bodies uniting the constitutional and supreme courts (Arab, Asian, European, French speaking, Ibero-American, Southern African, Young Democracies), the publication of the Bulletin o... read more

79th Plenary Session of the Commission (Venice)

12/06/2009 - 13/06/2009
HIGHLIGHTS:

Armenia - - Freedom of religion
The Armenian National Assembly has requested the assessment by the Council of Europe of the draft amendments to the law on freedom of conscience and on religious organisations. These amendments concern in particular the conditions for registration of religious associations. The assessment has been carried out jointly by the Venice Commission, the Legal and Human Rights Capacity Building Division of the Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs, and the ODIHR Advisory Council on Freedom of Religion and will ... read more

Seminar on “Efficient ways of dealing with individual complaints - International experiences” (Podgorica)

12/06/2009 - 13/06/2009

Montenegro – Seminar on “Efficient dealing with individual constitutional complaints – international experience”

12/06/2009 - 13/06/2009
Podgorica – The seminar is organised jointly with the OSCE Mission to Montenegro, the Constitutional Court of Montenegro.

The new Law on the Constitutional Court, adopted in October 2008, introduces individual complaint to the Court. The Venice Commission gave its opinion on a draft (see link below). The seminar aims at providing international experience on how this important institution for the protection of human rights can be best implemented in practice.

Enlarged Bureau of the Venice Commission

12/06/2009
Venice - The Enlarged Bureau of the Commission met with the Presidential Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Kyrgyzstan - Seminar for international observers

09/06/2009 - 09/06/2009
Cholpon-Ata - The Venice Commission will participate in a Seminar for international observers, organised by the Interparliamentary Assembly of member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Serbia - Constitutional Justice

02/06/2009
Belgrade - Conference in co-operation with the Constitutional Court of Serbia on the "Constitutional restriction on freedom of association". This event brought together the presidents of the constitutional courts of Serbia and Montenegro, judges, the Ombudsman of Serbia and other legal professionals, to discuss acceptable limitations to the freedom of association and the role of the constitutional court and other institutions in protecting this freedom.

Request for opinion - Luxembourg - constitutional amendments

02/06/2009 - 02/06/2009
On 2 June 2009, the Chamber of Deputies of Luxembourg sought the opinion of the Venice Commission on a set of constitutional amendments recently prepared.

Adoption of the Commission’s Annual Report of activities by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe

27/05/2009
Strasbourg, Palais de l’Europe – “If we have a worldwide financial crisis, then worldwide rule of law should be part of the answer”, - said Jan Helgesen, President of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, presenting its annual report to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

Established in 1990 by 18 member states of the Council of Europe, the Commission today counts 56 member states and 8 observers. In 2008 Israel and Tunisia have joined the Commission. The recent accession of Brazil brought the population “covered” by the expertise of the Commission to 1.... read more

Kyrgyzstan - Conference on the principle of rule of law and the separation of powers

25/05/2009 - 26/05/2009
Bishkek - The international conference ‘Rule of Law and Principle of separation of powers’ was hosted by the Kyrgyz Parliament (Jogorku Kenesh). This event enjoyed strong support from the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe , the European Union and the UNDP. The Venice Commission received financial support from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs to conduct the conference.

During the conference, representatives of all branches of power, non-governmental and donor organizations discussed the issues of the rule of law and effective interaction between the executive, legisl... read more

Armenia - Ombudsman

25/05/2009 - 26/05/2009
Yerevan - Participation in the Conference of the Human Rights Defender of Armenia on "The Right to Freedom of Expression and Fair Trial"

Elections and referendums - International workshop on e-voting from abroad

18/05/2009 - 19/05/2009
Vienna - At the invitation by the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs
Representatives of the Venice Commission participate in a seminar on e-voting from abroad. The participants are invited to exchange views on problematic aspects of e-voting from abroad in European countries and on practical aspects of the observation of e-voting.

Definition and development of human rights and popular sovereignty - UniDem seminar

15/05/2009 - 16/05/2009
Goethe University, Frankfurt –Seminar by the Venice Commission in co-operation with

- the Faculty of Law and the Cluster of Excellence “Formation of Normative Orders” of Goethe University, Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, and with
- the Centre of Excellence in Foundations of European Law and Polity Research, Helsinki University, Finland.

Human rights need to be defined before they can be invoked by their beneficiaries. The definition process continues during the implementation phase, as human rights are constantly developed and adapted to new social circumstances. St... read more

The US House of Representatives refers to the Venice Commission

12/05/2009
Washington - The US House of Representatives adopted on 12 May 2009 Resolution H. Res. 171 on Bosnia and Herzegovina, calling inter alia for further constitutional reforms in the country and quoting the Venice Commission’s “Opinion on the Constitutional Situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Powers of the High Representative” CDL-AD(2005)004, adopted by the Venice Commission on 11-12 March 2005.

“…the Council of Europe's Venice Commission has concluded that the current constitutional arrangements of Bosnia and Herzegovina are neither efficient nor rational, and that the stat... read more

Future Unified Electoral Code of Ukraine – a working group meeting

07/05/2009 - 09/05/2009
Ivano-Frankovsk, Ukraine - A representative of the Venice Commission has participated in a working group meeting of the Verkhovna Rada on the future Unified Electoral Code of Ukraine. Among other topics, the problem of a possible new draft of the Law on the elections of deputies and its integration into the future Code has been discussed with the authors of the different drafts of the law submitted to the Rada.

Ukraine - Meeting with the Minister of Justice

28/04/2009
Strasbourg - The Minister of Justice of Ukraine Mr Onishchuk met with the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of the Venice Commission. Mr Onishchuk provided explanations regarding the draft Constitution presented by the President of Ukraine. The Venice Commission will adopt an opinion on this draft at its next plenary session on 12-13 June. The Minister also indicated that either the President of the Verkhovna Rada, Mr Lytvyn, or the Ministry of Justice would ask the Commission for an opinion on the draft laws on the prosecutor’s office, the organisation of the judiciary and the status of judges

Electoral issues - Conference of the Spanish Presidency of the Committee of Ministers

24/04/2009 - 25/04/2009
Madrid - Within the framework of the Spanish Presidency of the Committee of Ministers, the Venice Commission organises, in co-operation with the Centre for Constitutional and Political Studies, a conference on "Controlling Electoral Processes".

Ramallah - Conference on the Constitutional Court

22/04/2009 - 23/04/2009
A delegation of the Venice Commission is attending a Conference on the Constitutional Court, organised in the framework of the European Union's Project "Seyada".

London - OSCE/ODIHR guidelines on political parties

21/04/2009 - 22/04/2009
Representatives of the Venice Commission are invited to participate in a working group in charge of the drafting of OSCE guidelines on political parties

Request for opinion - Ukraine - Draft Constitution

21/04/2009
During a visit to Strasbourg on 21 April the Deputy Head of the Secretariat of the President of Ukraine, Ms Stavnichuk, presented the new version of the Constitution of Ukraine proposed by the President of Ukraine. The draft addresses in particular the relations between President, parliament and government. It provides for the establishment of a second chamber of parliament.

Ms Stavnichuk asked the Venice Commission to provide an opinion on this text at its next session in June 2009.

Request by the German government - a Study on "Individual Access to Constitutional Justice”

21/04/2009
The German government has asked the Venice Commission to conduct a study on "Individual Access to Constitutional Justice". The study could be "a valuable contribution to the promotion of national remedies for human rights violations", the German Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe, Ambassador E. Kölsch, stated in his letter.

In the Venice Commission member states, there exists a variety of possibilities for individuals to accede to constitutional courts or other equivalent courts if their fundamental rights have been violated by a law, and administrative act or a cou... read more

World Conference on Constitutional Justice - Bureau

16/04/2009
Mérida, Mexico – the Commission unites the Bureau of the World Conference on Constitutional Justice to discuss the ways of establishing an association.

Ibero-America - Constitutional Justice

15/04/2009 - 17/04/2009
Mérida, Mexico – Upon invitation by the Supreme Court of of Mexico, the Commission participates in the Ibero-American Conference on Constitutional Justice on “Constitutional Interpretation”

Request for opinion – - criteria for judges and prosecutors

10/04/2009
The Ministry of Justice of Serbia has asked the Commission to deliver opinion on
(1) the draft Criteria and standards for the election of Judges and Court Presidents; and
(2) the Rules of procedure on criteria and standards for the evaluation of qualification, competence and worthiness of candidates for bearers of public prosecutor’s function.

Request for opinion - Bulgaria - draft law on normative acts

09/04/2009
The Venice Commission has been requested to assess the draft law on normative acts. The opinion is expected to be adopted at the October plenary session.

Moldova - Legal Advice to the Parliamentary Assembly

02/04/2009 - 06/04/2009
Chisinau - At the invitation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Mr Owen Masters, Elections Expert from the United Kingdom, and a member of the Venice Commission Secretariat, take part to the Observation Mission of the Parliamentary Assembly as legal advisors in the context of the Parliamentary elections to be held on 5 April 2009. Their mandate is to advise the PACE delegation on the legal aspects of the elections.

“Democracy always implies civilian primacy over the military”

02/04/2009
Strasbourg – Democracy always implies civilian primacy over the military, Gianni Buquicchio, Secretary of the Venice Commission, states in an interview on the subject of democratic control of the armed forces.

A full report, which considers all the forms of control over armed forces in Europe, was adopted by the Venice Commission in 2008.

For more information on this please see Focus

Brazil brings the “population” of the Venice Commission to 1.2 billion

01/04/2009
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe today agreed to let Brazil join the Venice Commission.

Since 2002, when the Venice Commission became an enlarged agreement allowing non-European countries to become full members, 9 states have joined the Commission: Kyrgyzstan (2004) , Chile (2005) , the Republic of Korea (2006), Morocco and Algeria (2007), Israel and Tunisia (2008), Peru and Brazil (2009). The membership of Brazil brings the number of the member states to 56 and the population “covered” by the expertise of the Commission close to 1.2 billion people.

Request for opinion - Armenia - Civil code

30/03/2009
The Office of the President of the Republic of Armenia has requested the assessment by the Venice Commission of the draft law on Amending the Civil Code. The amendment concerns Article 19 of the Civil Code in respect of the protection of honour, dignity and business reputation. The opinion is due to be endorsed by the Venice Commission in its 79th plenary session in June 2009.

Request for opinion - Bulgaria - Draft law on meetings, rallies and manifestations

27/03/2009
The Venice Commission has been requested by the Bulgarian authorities to assess the compliance of the draft law on meetings, rallies and manifestations of Bulgaria with international standards.

"the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" - Seminar of the Skopje School of Politics

26/03/2009 - 29/03/2009
Kocani - Prof. Tanja Karakamisheva, Substitute Member of the Venice Commission, participated in a Seminar concerning the situation of the country during and post the elections, organised of the Political Affairs Directorate of the Council of Europe.

Uzbekistan - European Rule of Law Initiative for Central Asia.

26/03/2009 - 28/03/2009
Tashkent - The Secretary of the Venice Commission met representatives of the authorities of Uzbekistan to discuss future co-operation. It was decided that the Venice Commission will co-organise in co-operation with the Supreme court of Uzbekistan in May - June 2009 a conference on the challenges and further reform of the judicial system of Uzbekistan.

"the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" - Legal Advice to the Parliamentary Assembly

19/03/2009 - 23/03/2009
Skopje - At the invitation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), a member of the Venice Commission Secretariat took part to the Observation Mission of the Parliamentary Assembly as legal advisor during the 22 March presidential election. His mandate was to advise the PACE delegation on the legal aspects of the elections.

Request for opinion - Armenia - Freedom of religion

19/03/2009
The Armenian National Assembly has requested the assessment by the Council of Europe of the draft amendments to the law on freedom of conscience and on religious organisations. This assessment will be carried out jointly by the Venice Commission, the Legal and Human Rights Capacity Building Division of the the Directorate General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs, and the ODIHR Expert Council on Freedom of Religion.

Conference on Human Rights in Armenia

19/03/2009 - 20/03/2009
Yerevan - Ms Finola Flanagan, Irish member of the Venice Commission, participated in the conference on human rights in Armenia. She presented a report on "the role of the civil society in the due application of the legislation on freedom of assembly". Freedom of assembly in Armenia is a topic in which the Venice Commission has taken a particular interest since its works on the law adopted in 2005.

Moldova - Capacity-building programme for the Central Election Commission

17/03/2009 - 09/04/2009
Chisinau - At the request of the Central Election Commission of Moldova, the Venice Commission provides an international expert in electoral matters aiming at assisting the electoral administration on legal and technical issues in the context of the Parliamentary elections to be held on 5 April 2009.

Opinion on the Law on occupied territories of Georgia adopted

13/03/2009
At the request of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe the Venice Commission examined the above-mentioned law which has been in force since October 2008. This law is based on the premise that Abkhazia and South Ossetia belong to Georgia ; this position has been supported by the Parliamentary Assembly in its Resolution 1647(2009).

Among other things, the law criminalises irregular entry into Abkhazia (Georgia) and South Ossetia (Georgia) without explicit exceptions for emergency situations or for humanitarian aid; it also penalises irregular economic activities in th... read more

Turkey - Legal provisions for prohibition of political parties differ from European standards

13/03/2009
Venice, Friday 13 March 2009 - In its report on prohibition of political parties in Turkey, adopted earlier today, the Venice Commission concludes that, when compared to common European practice, the situation in Turkey differs in three important respects:

1. The long list of substantive criteria applicable to the constitutionality of political parties, as laid down in Article 68 (4) and the Law on political parties, go beyond the criteria recognised as legitimate by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the Venice Commission.
2. The procedure for initiating decisio... read more

78th Plenary Session of the Commission (Venice)

13/03/2009 - 14/03/2009
The Commission has discussed the following issues :

• amendments to the Criminal Code of Armenia in relation to the March 2008 events;
• the constitutional referendum in Azerbaijan, which inter alia would enable the President to be re-elected more than once;
• the Georgian law on occupied territories (Abkhazia and South Ossetia);
• the constitutional and legal provisions relevant for the prohibition of political parties in Turkey.

Other opinions adopted by the Commission concerned:

• the admissibility of a constitutional referendum in and electo... read more

Egypt - Constitutional Justice

07/03/2009 - 09/03/2009
Alexandria - The Commission participates in the Conference on “the constitutional Guarantees of Rights and Political Freedoms” and “The constitutional Protection of Social Equality Principle” at the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt.

Request for opinion - Georgia - Law on political unions of citizen

04/03/2009
At the request of the Parliament of Georgia, the Venice Commission will carry out an assessment of the Law amending the Law of Georgia on political unions of citizens.

"the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" - Training Workshop for trainers

02/03/2009 - 03/03/2009
Skopje - In the context of the forthcoming presidential and local elections, the purpose of this workshop is to train professional trainers on legal and technical electoral issues to prepare them for training sessions they are to provide to the electoral commissions throughout the country.

Moldova - Seminar on the functioning of political parties during the election period

26/02/2009 - 26/02/2009
Chisinau - In the context of the forthcoming Parliamentary elections, the purpose of this seminar is to disseminate the principles of the European Electoral heritage in the field of political parties and to ensure due implementation of the Law on political parties and of the Election Code.

The other main purpose of this seminar is to provide recommendations regarding a fair and concrete implementation of the provisions of the relevant legislation by the representatives of political parties.

Tajikistan - visit of the Venice Commission representatives

23/02/2009 - 26/02/2009
Representatives of the Venice Commission will have an exchange of views with the Tajik authorities on possible co-operation in the framework of the Rule of Law Initiative for Central Asia programme

Request for opinion - Albania - lustration law

20/02/2009
The Constitutional Court of Albania requested the Venice Commission to assess the law "On the cleanliness of the figure of high functionaries of the public administration and elected officials" .

Germany supports Venice Commission in implementation of the Programme on the Rule of Law in Central Asia

17/02/2009
Strasbourg, Council of Europe - The Foreign Affairs Ministry of Germany has made a voluntary contribution to the Venice Commission for the implementation of a Programme on the Rule of Law in Central Asia. The objective of this programme is to help the countries of the region (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan) to further reform their institutions.

The cooperation agreement was signed today by Ambassador Eberhard Kölsch, Permanent Representative of Germany to the Council of Europe, and Gianni Buquicchio, Secretary of the Venice Commission.

The ... read more

Request for opinion - Kyrgyzstan - law "on assemblies"

02/09
At the request of the Ombudsman of Kyrgyzstan, the Venice Commission and ODIHR will carry out jointly an assessment of the draft amendments to the law "on assemblies" of Kyrgyzstan

Ukraine - Round table on electoral systems

04/02/2009
Kyiv - A delegation of the Venice Commission participates in a round table on electoral systems organised by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

Follow up Seminar on Interaction of Central and Local Governments and other Stakeholders in Combating Proxy and Family Voting

03/02/2009 - 03/02/2009
Skopje - The United Nations Development Program organises a Seminar on combating proxy and family voting, which is a follow up to the Seminar on "Electoral Standards and International Commitments pertaining to Ballot Secrecy", which took place on 3 December, 2007. Ms Tanja Karakamisheva, Professor in Law and Substitute Member of the Venice Commission, intervenes on the issue of family voting.

Bulgaria - Meetings with Bulgarian authorities on concept for a new law on statutory instruments

27/01/2009 - 28/01/2009
Sofia - A delegation of the Venice Commission meets with the Minister of Justice, officials within the Ministry of Justice, MP's, Judges of the Supreme administrative court, NGO's in order to discuss the concept for a new law on statutory instruments submitted by the Bulgarian authorties for assessement by the Venice Commission.

Request for an opinion - Georgia

27/01/2009
The First Deputy Chairman of the parliament of Georgia has requested the opinion of the Venice Commission on draft constitutional amendments concerning the power of the President to dissolve parliament and the role of the parliamentary opposition re. the issue of confidence in the government

South Africa - World Conference on Constitutional Justice

23/01/2009 - 24/01/2009
Cape Town - In co-operation with the Constitutional Court of South Africa, the Venice Commission organised the first World Conference on Constitutional Justice on the topic “Influential Constitutional Justice - its influence on society and on developing a global human rights jurisprudence”. This major event brought together the constitutional courts and equivalent bodies of the various regional groups the Commission co-operates with (Conference of European Constitutional Courts, the Ibero-American Conference of Constitutional Justice, the Association of the Constitutional Courts and Councils ... read more

Andorra - New member

14/01/2009
Mr Joan MONEGAL BLASI has been nominated as Member of the Venice Commission.

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